Single Page Application Vs. Progressive Web App: A Comparison

Single Page Application Vs. Progressive Web App

The current digital domain is ever-competitive. Businesses are looking to find a way to sustain themselves in the market and thrive. Web applications in recent years emerged as a solution. This is because it helps reach a wider audience group by providing a more convenient way for users to interact.

With the increasing popularity of web applications, the choice between progressive and single-page applications is still debatable. Both technologies enhance the user experience by providing a fluid user interaction. One can be installed like a native application; the other does not need a page refresh to showcase new information.

However, the decision to select one of them for your business is challenging. Both provide advantages over the other and understanding the differences among them is essential for an informed decision. Whether you opt to partner with a single page or progressive web app development company, considering your business goals is crucial.

What are SPAs and PWAs?

Single page applications, as the name states (single), are web applications that load a single HTML page whose content updates dynamically as the user interacts with it. Simply put, the content of a web page is not entirely downloaded, it is rendered from the server as the user scrolls through.

On the other hand, Progressive web apps are the type of web applications that can be downloaded and installed like a native application. In other words, these are the web apps that utilize modern web development techniques to deliver native app-like experiences.

Differences Between Progressive Web Apps and Single Page Applications

Web application development is a significant decision a business has to take. While on the path to deciding between PWA and SPA, understanding the key differences among them is vital.

  • Performance

The performance of your web app is the most vital aspect to consider, and this factor plays a vital role in finding the difference between a PWA and SPA. Progressive web applications are designed to load faster and provide information quickly to the users in comparison to traditional websites. This, in turn, results in improved performance, which significantly enhances the user experience.

On the other hand, single-page applications are typically more performing than traditional ways of delivering information through a website. This is all because they load only the required content that a user views at the current time, and the rest of the content piece will automatically update as he/she scrolls through a page. This has reduced the time of users to wait for the content to load.

  • Security

It is vital to provide a safe and secure web experience to users when it comes to either websites or web applications. Single-page applications require extensive focus on this aspect as these are more prone to be attacked by hackers. It is because these application-type often utilize AJAX to load data from the server without refreshing the page, making it difficult for a user to find when an attack is taking place. Hence, the ideal way is to partner with a single-page application development company to secure your data endpoints.

Progressive web applications are one step ahead in the form of keeping information and data secure. This is because these are designed to run over HTTPS and run within the browser to provide a secure environment.

  • Accessibility¬†

Progressive web applications are designed to be more accessible to users. This is because of the service worker that makes it highly accessible even at the times/zones of no internet. Also, these are highly accessible to users with disabilities, as a PWA loads its content in a progressive way. This means that they can interact with the content as soon as some of the content gets loaded. Opting to work with a Progressive web app development agency is beneficial in this regard.

Comparatively, a single-page application is not as good as a PWA in accessibility. This is because it loads all of its content in a single HTML page, which makes it difficult for users with disability to navigate. Also, if a user uses a screen reader, this web app development type does not fit right, as the content is not structured the way it should be.

  • Caching

Both single-page and progressive web applications are modern web app architectures, but they serve different purposes and characteristics when it comes to caching.

A SPA typically relies on the client-side caching mechanisms. It caches assets of a web page like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to enhance user experience and performance. Also, it only supports a few caching techniques, which SPA development service providers will utilize based on the requirements of your project. This includes browser, network, or server-side caching.

Progressive web app, on the other hand, makes use of the service worker to perform caching. A service worker is a background script that separates from the web page and provides more control over caching. This advanced caching strategy provides offline capability, enhanced performance, and background sync. In essence, while SPAs focus on optimizing the client-side experience through various caching techniques, PWAs take it a step further with service workers, enabling features like offline access and background sync for a more robust user experience.

  • Cost of Development

Investing in the development of PWA development services would cost you more bucks than developing SPA. It is because of the additional components that are involved. This requires both the server-side and client-side development. It means that you have to allocate resources to build a backend server responsible for server-side rendering, which augments the development costs.

Whereas, SPA is a client-side web application. These web applications are entirely loaded from the client, omitting the need for a separate back-end server. This is because these are just simple web applications that provide limited server-side functionality.


The right choice between both depends on the needs and goals of your specific project. Single page applications provide a quick and responsive user experience, and on the other hand, a PWA is capable of providing offline functionality but is costlier to develop. This states that a custom single-page application development requires fewer bucks in comparison to a PWA. However, you do not have to make decisions based on cost or performance, consider accessing your priorities and the long-term vision of your web application. This way, you can make the right choice that should properly align with the objectives of your business.